[html5] <header>, <hgroup> and subheadings

Jukka K. Korpela jukka.k.korpela at kolumbus.fi
Thu May 2 00:59:44 PDT 2013

2013-05-02 3:38, Micky Hulse wrote:
> Hmm, just read that the <hgroup> has been removed from the spec:
> http://html5doctor.com/the-hgroup-element/
> "Update 16th April, 2013. hgroup has now been removed from the HTML5
> specification. We are working on an article to help guide authors on
> which markup patterns they should use instead."
There is no HTML5 specification. There are just more or less mutable 
working documents confusingly called "specifications" or "standards". In 

1) the HTML 5.0 CR by the W3C still has the <hgroup> element:

2) the editor's draft HTML 5.1 Nightly has it removed now, following the 
W3C working group decision:

3) the HTML Living HTML by the WHATWG still has it, with no note about 
being removed:

The natural approach is to mark headings by their structural level. You 
don't then combine e.g. <h2> and <h3> into a single "header group" 
supposed to act as a header block at structural level 2, worrying about 
automatic analyzers getting the structure wrong somehow. Instead, you 
use simply <h2> and style its parts differently if desired. The old and 
robust way would be

<h2>The basic heading<br>
<small>The explanatory or more detailed "sub-heading"</small></h2>

but if you wish to try to use <br> and <small> by their semantics in 
HTM5 / Living HTML (even though that semantics looks incomprehensible to 
mortals), you would presumably use semantically empty markup and do all 
the formatting in CSS:

<h2>The basic heading
<span class=subheading>The explanatory or more detailed 

Either of these approaches makes the entire heading text a 2nd level 
heading from the perspective of search engines. This should be OK 
because that's what it is, even though some parts thereof might be seen 
as less important than others.

Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

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